With bars in Bangkok today ordered to close until at least the end of the month, the hammer is expected to fall soon on Pattaya entertainment venues.
The Cabinet on March 17 officially postponed the Songkran holidays in April and ordered schools, stadiums, movie theaters, bars and other entertainment venues in Bangkok closed from March 18-31. No specific mention was made of Pattaya or Chonburi, with a government spokeswoman saying it would be up to provincial governors whether to follow suit.
Pattaya bar owners already have resigned themselves the fact that closures are inevitable.
Damrongkiat Phitnitkarn, secretary for the Pattaya Entertainment Industry and Tourism Association, said March 16 that the city’s discos, go-go and beer bars would cooperate with a government request to close, but said operators want to know how long a closure would last.
Citing Hollywood Pattaya as an example, he said the disco has 240 employees, all of which have already seen their hours cut.
“If we are to close to prevent Covid-19, we need time,” Damrongkiat said. “Our employees require time to manage the situation as well. If the government has a policy to close the country, we want the government to be serious and sincerely solve the problem with transparency.”
Deputy Health Minister Satit Pitutecha said March 16 that closures are necessary because bars, dance clubs and other entertainment venues have “activities where many people gather together, leading to touching and risk of easy infections.”
He cited the case of a Bangkok-area boxing stadium were 30 people who attended a camp there have now been confirmed to have contracted Covid-19.
Closing bars and clubs enforces the social distancing required to flatten the infection curve and prevent mass infections, he said.